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SPRINGBOARD® in Copenhagen: Startup develops on-the-farm system to produce nitrogen-based fertilizer

  • 26 Aug 2024
  • 14:00 - 17:00
  • Future Manufacturers, kl 14:00 til 17:00 pa H. C. Andersens Blvd. 18, 1553 København
  • 21


  • Tilmeldingsfrist: 19. august 2024.
  • Tilmeldingsfrist: 19. august 2024.


Introduction to SPRINGBOARD®

Ammonia (NH3) is a key chemical used for all nitrogen fertilizers and numerous industrial applications. Conventional production occurs in large scale plants, is heavily reliant on energy intensive process, and fragile supply chains. This startup offers an unprecedented on-site and green ammonia production from air, water, and electricity occurring in a patent-pending electrochemical reactor.

The team has developed a upscaled prototype and expects 3+ more years of R&D designing, building and testing on customer sites further prototypes and demonstration units.

Areas for sparring

For this SPRINGBOARD®, panelists with competencies/experience within these themes, are needed for sparring (prioritised):

                                          1. 1. In-house/off-house reactor and components manufacturing

                                            We are interested in knowing the pros and cons of in-house and off-house manufacturing and at what scale each approach is recommended. At what stage should we maintain the production under our direct control or if it is best to send it all to external supplier, or only parts of it, and how to decide what to outsource or not.

                                          2. 2. In-land (EU)/abroad reactor and components manufacturing

                                            Similarly to the previous point, we would like to know the implications of a long or short geographic supply chain and when one is recommended over the other, regarding leading times, costs, IP protection etc.

                                          3. 3. Balance of (chemical) plant design in-house or EPC

                                          4. For our electrochemical reactor to work, we need to design and build a small chemical plant around it. We have hired an experienced process engineer to take lead on this but are wondering how much he should do and to which extent we should partner with EPC. Wha are the advantages and pitfalls of outsourcing such a key part of our final product in terms of speed of execution, developing and retaining knowledge, IPR?

                                          5. 4. Factoring-in sustainability of materials and manufacturing

                                            Although it is not an aspect, we consider fundamental at this stage, since we are still at an early development stage, we would like to know how it could be included in the future. Specifically, how can we integrate sustainability with our little chemical plant, the materials, possible advantages and incentives.

                                              Industry: Agro, Agroindustri

                                              Development stage: Proof of Concept

                                              Company's CVR region: Capitol

                                              Competencies in the panel:

                                              • In- and outsourcing
                                              • Innovation (business, market, product, process)
                                              • Production

                                              Note: This SPRINGBOARD® will be held in English


                                                The solution is an on-the-farm system to produce nitrogen-based fertilizer. The product is a container-size system able to synthesize (green) ammonia from air, water and (green) electricity.

                                                Inside the container an air separation unit (to extract nitrogen from air) will be placed, an electrolyzer (to synthesize hydrogen from water), and a patent-pending reactor to convert nitrogen (N2) and hydrogen (H2) into ammonia (NH3).

                                                Customer segment and market dynamics

                                                Based on 200+ experts interview in these past years, we see agriculture as our first market, but we are exploring other uses of the ammonia we will produce such as fermentation, where an on-site production of ammonia is seen as an advantage.

                                                Our initial market is agriculture, specifically growers that irrigate either in open fields or greenhouses and vertical farms. We talked to farmers from all over the world and received positive feedback but were made aware of how price sensitive their market is. Farmers see value in being able to control fertilizer production and gain resilience. Additionally, more and more farmers are installing solar on their farms, even in Denmark, providing the means for powering our unit.

                                                We do not compete directly with large scale ammonia production as we offer to produce it on-site, but need to be aware of the price (farm-gate price, including transportation) they can offer. We see our direct competitors in the large number of companies that are trying to decentralize nitrogenous fertilizer production.

                                                Facilities & Team

                                                From July 1st we will have our own 100 m2 lab-space and offices.

                                                The management has a good mix of technical and managerial competences. Our founders have worked for many years in the development of the technology and the company itself. Moreover, they have a strong supporting team of 7, comprising engineers, chemists, and software developers.

                                                Tech status

                                                We recently scaled from a lab reactor (25 cm2 electrodes) making 1 g/day of NH3 to prototype size (400 cm2 electrodes) making 1 g/h of NH3.

                                                By the end of this year, we plan to stack a series of 400 cm2 cells to make 1 kg/day of NH3, which is also the first time we will need to produce our parts “in series”.

                                                For 2025-2027 we plan to upscale the reactor into demonstration units able to make 5 and 50 kg/day of NH3. This will involve designing larger parts but also manufacturing tens of them, something we have not experience with yet.

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